In Attitude's March Issue, we're exploring the tricky world of love, sex and relationships as part our Valentine’s Love & Dating
special, delving into the world of apps, hook-ups, and how to make a relationship last.
With the most romantic day of the year just around the corner and love on everyone's minds, we've enlisted the help of author, sex and relationships expert and certified therapist Dr Joe Kort to offer his advice on what it takes to make a relationship go the distance once you've eventually found it. Notepads at the ready guys...
1) Understand the stages of love
Every relationship goes through three stages of love, including romantic love, the power struggle and real love, respectively. Romantic love is supposed to happen and supposed to end. If you are prepared for this then you are not surprised when romantic love ends and conflict begins in the power struggle. The power struggle is supposed to happen and supposed to end, too, but it lasts longer because most couples don’t have the skills for conflict resolution. Real love comes as couples work through problems successfully.
2) Conflict is growth trying to happen
Most couples think this is the end of the relationship but actually it’s the beginning. Having conflict in a relationship is an indicator you are with the right person. When he pushes your buttons it’s because you already have that issue and you have hired him to work that issue through.
3) You will have at least three relationships in a lifetime
This doesn’t mean you have to leave your partner! You can have three relationships with him. Old patterns change in relationships and new ones emerge. The longer you are together the more change will occur. If you enter a relationship aged 20 you will change quite a bit by the time you’re 40, which means the relationship must accommodate the changes in you individually. I constantly tell couples the old relationship they were in has died it is time to build a new one with their current partner.
4) Sex and love are two conversations
Most couples think that if they improve their relationship, sex will come. Others think that if they improve their sex life the relationship will get better. Neither of these are true. If you want to have a good love and sex life with a partner you have to have two ongoing discussions.
5) Never compare what you have with other relationships
One of the greatest gifts of being gay men is that we are not bound by heteronormative expectations and values. We create any type of relationship we want. What works in one relationship might not work in yours necessarily, whether gay, lesbian or straight. There is no right or wrong way to be in a relationship. Keep doing whatever works for the two of you and never take on what others say is right or wrong for you.
Joe Kort is the author of '10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Improve Their Lives' and '10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Find Real Love' - both of which are currently being revised for 2016. He can be reached at joekort.com.
You can read more advice about navigating love, sex and relationships in 2016 in Attitude’s March Issue
, which is in shops now, available as a digital download from pocketmags.com/attitude
, and also to order from newsstand.co.uk
Also in this month's issue, alongside all your usual fashion, fitness, travel and real life stories:
Will Young admits gay ‘shame’ has left him addicted to porn and alcohol
Gay Atheist flees Syria to escape discrimination, is mocked by other refugees
- Newly-out Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy opens up about love, relationships and becoming a gay role model in an exclusive 10-page shoot and interview
- Attitude meets hot young thing and rising star Douglas Booth, who talks equality, his breakthrough gay roles and new film Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.
- Aussie singe-songwriter Josef Salvat discusses sexuality, experiemtation and why as a straight man he’s not afraid to kiss men in his music videos.
- This Book Is Gay author Juno Dawson speaks to Attitude as she begins to undergo her transition, ahead of a new monthly column exploring the best of LGBT culture.
- Sheila Reid has a right ole’ knees-up playing 'How Gay Are You?' as Benidorm returns to UK screens.